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  1. #1
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    The now infamous Powell family snow fire photo - FAKE or REAL?


    (Photo source: http://susanpowell.org

    (Blog entry of Mark Throckmorton, photo expert)

    Expert? Yes. Mormon? No!
    March 16th, 2010
    Okay, so Funny story. I imagine someone’s gonna find this sooner or later so I’ll say my piece right now and people are welcome to assume what they want from there on out.

    There was a local new story that aired tonight about the Susan Powell Case for which I’m not going to go into details over as I am not a news person and hardly watch tv myself. But one of my old friends (a reporter from the station I USED TO WORK AT) called me up called me up and asked if I would have look at some photos for him regarding a story he was working on and I happily obliged. I was asked to use my photoshop expertise to see if I could see any signs of photo manipulation in the picture.

    What was seen in the interview was just as I said and I followed up with an email to the reporter later with what follows:

    “The photo doesn’t appear to be manipulated but it’s easier to detect a manipulation than to determine whether it wasn’t.
    The lighting and the eye lines of Scott and the child are consistent with the location of the fire. There’s no signs of cloning of the background to hide or cover up anything. As far as I can tell the fire is completely part of the original photo. There’s no signs of layer masking or blending on the photograph (no repeat patterns in the snow) as I can see it. To play devil’s advocate, the only way to truly determine if there was manipulation would be to see the original photo, shy of seeing the original w/o the blurred faces of the children and the logo on Scott’s shirt there’s no real way to say otherwise. I’d love to see a higher quality version but I don’t really foresee any reason why it would look any different. But beware of cartoon bears!”

    What I didn’t do was try to determine whether the photo was taken yesterday or 2 years ago. That wasn’t the point of the examination. My conclusion as to the ‘authenticity’ of the photo has nothing to do with the guilt or not of the persons involved; as I don’t watch t.v. and I have very little knowledge of the actual on goings of the story itself and don’t have a bias either way.

    Apparently I was quick to be googled so I thought I’d best respond. Yes I have an account on Classmates but I haven’t looked at it in years so I honestly couldn’t tell you what it says, there’s a lovely picture of my ugly mug attempting to light a kerosene lamp which is a funny story in and of itself but that’s for another time. Probably the closest thing to ‘hurtful’ (but I’m not terribly bothered by it) is the allegations that I’m Mormon. Well I’m not, not Mormon, not Christian, not Hindu or anything else. The best way to describe me would probably be ’staunch outspoken atheist’.
    Whatever being mormon has to do with anything I have no idea but people seem to think that the local news media is for whatever reason run by the mormon church. Trust me, they’re not.

    So why am I bothering to blog about something now after many months of not saying anything about anything at all? Well my life’s not that terribly exciting so I’ve had nothing to say.

    Additionally:
    The story has started a small flurry of comments that appear to be in the negative towards me and anyone who knows me knows I LOVE negative attention. Hit me with your best shot, I have no ego to bruise!

    To clear the record:
    Yes I DID at one time work at the TV station in question. I WAS the nightly graphic artist there for many years. I have since moved on and am still doing freelance graphic art and design. The reporter could have just as easily gone and asked any number of the well qualified graphic artists that I know still work at the station but he decided to ask me instead. I’m touched that he thought of me, we built up a good solid working relationship over the years and I’d happily offer my services to help him out again in any way I can (free of charge).

    So in conclusion, no I am NOT a mormon, yes I am a professional graphic artist/designer AND CARTOONIST! (feel free to hate, I don’t mind). I have done work with photo-manipulation in the past. I do do (I said dodo!) freelance work for attorneys and occasional forensic analysis regarding court cases and the like. No I don’t have a bias either way in the case. I’m sure somebody somewhere did something bad to someone else and they should be punished for it. But as I don’t know the particulars of the story I won’t say who did what to who when or where.

    ~I’m just sayin’
    SOURCE: http://www.google.com/url?sa=X&q=htt...HnOsFgCwk0pKtg

    And what was right above the following entry? Lol!
    Sounds like the cartoonist was talking about the guy that was at the Duces Wild strip club!


    Last edited by PickieChickie; 03-16-2010 at 04:32 PM.

  2. #2
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    GETTING RESULTS: Is photo of Powell family fake?
    Reported by: Brent Hunsaker
    Last Update: 1:02 am

    SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - There have been a number of questions surrounding a picture of Susan Powell and her family since it first surfaced on an anonymous website earlier this month. Among those questions, is it legitimate?

    The picture on www.susanpowell.org shows Susan, Josh and their two boys posing in front of a large fire. Their campground is covered in snow and it is night.

    To read the rest of the article, click here: http://mobile.abc4.com/content/news/...yr-udJ8sw.cspx

  3. #3
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    Mark Throckmorton - Expert who analyzed the photo


    Mark Throckmorton
    Taylorsville High School
    Taylorsville, UTAH
    Class of 1996
    http://www.classmates.com/directory/...egId=216813471

  4. #4
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    My problem with the photo is the way they are describing it - it doesn't look like a campground.

    In a campground, there would be something in the photo to sit on. Rocks, logs. There are no trees, shrubs, picnic tables, nothing.

    This looks like a fire in a backyard, a wide expanse like a lawn covered with snow.

    The ANGLE of the shot is also off. It doesn't look like it was taken from ground level, but from above. Was the camera atop a car? The railing of a deck? But then how could the fire be so close to either one? Did someone else take the photo at a ward campout?
    Last edited by dovebar; 03-16-2010 at 07:48 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dovebar View Post
    My problem with the photo is the way they are describing it - it doesn't look like a campground.

    In a campground, there would be something in the photo to sit on. Rocks, logs. There are no trees, shrubs, picnic tables, nothing.

    This looks like a fire in a backyard, a wide expanse like a lawn covered with snow.
    I agree! Where are the chairs? And, if they were camping, why is the snow all tramped down like hundreds of people have been walking all over it? Kiirsi Hellewell said that Josh and Susan NEVER went camping in the snow yet, if you look at the name of the file as it was saved, it says: http://susanpowell.org/Pages/Images/...erCampfire.jpg

    At least he didn't title it WinterCamping!

  6. #6
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    This definitely looks like a job for the tripod. Did POI own one? I'm guessing yes, and I'm guessing from my own fire photos that the camera is at least four or five feet away. I don't do this type of shots, so don't know what lens this would be. Probably around 50 mm?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PickieChickie View Post
    I agree! Where are the chairs? And, if they were camping, why is the snow all tramped down like hundreds of people have been walking all over it? Kiirsi Hellewell said that Josh and Susan NEVER went camping in the snow yet, if you look at the name of the file as it was saved, it says: http://susanpowell.org/Pages/Images/...erCampfire.jpg

    At least he didn't title it WinterCamping!
    I noticed the tons of footprints and tamping down of the snow too.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dovebar View Post
    I noticed the tons of footprints and tamping down of the snow too.
    IMO the quality of the snow cover alone ruins the image and shows how amateur it is. The first thing he'd learn to fix, is footprints in the snow. LOL. Come to think of it, what makes us think he uses something other than GIMP!

    I do know he has a decent Nikon camera (looks DSLR to me) and pretty sure that was a wireless remote in his right hand. Way too much flash to give the feel of a campfire.

  9. #9
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    To me, the fire looks like it is up high, not down close to the ground like you'd think a campfire would be.
    Last summer we bought an outside fireplace to have in the back yard, there is a base with a small propane tank inside, and the fire comes out at the top. You get the affect of a fire with the flames dancing etc and the flames in this picture remind me of that. Now if I was going camping, either in the winter, spring, summer or fall, I would not even consider packing up our fireplace to bring it along! You do not use it to roast marshmallows and unless you're standing over it you do not use it for any heat! It's really just for a bit of atmosphere.

    VB
    Boyfriends and girlfriends are not Babysitters.
    Just because you want to be with somebody does not mean they will take care of your children.

  10. #10
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    Which photo is fake? Which photo is real?







    Last edited by PickieChickie; 03-18-2010 at 04:07 PM.


  11. #11
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    Very nicely done, PickieChickie.

    I'll add one!


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DomCasual View Post
    Very nicely done, PickieChickie.

    I'll add one!

    Ahahahahahahahahahahaha!
    (I found those photos on the Internet, not my work!)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by PickieChickie View Post
    Ahahahahahahahahahahaha!
    (I found those photos on the Internet, not my work!)
    You guys are both hilarious! Thanks for the laugh. I think we all need it at this point.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by PickieChickie View Post
    Ahahahahahahahahahahaha!
    (I found those photos on the Internet, not my work!)
    Ah, so now I feel like a boob. I thought I was making fun of poor ol' Josh with company. Now, it appears I made fun of him on my lonesome!

  15. #15
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    Yet another one. This one is clearly fake!

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